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Home Pet Q&A Cat Questions Does Animal Control Pick Up Cats?

Does Animal Control Pick Up Cats?

In most locations, animal control will pick up stray cats. Whether or not they accept owner surrenders varies by location. If you're considering giving up your pet to animal control, it should be with the understanding that they may be put down. If you're calling about stray or feral cats, that fact should be a consideration as well.

Pet Cats 

If you need to rehome a pet cat, animal control should be a last resort. While most facilities do their best for the animals in their care, many still euthanize healthy animals because they simply do not have the space to care for them. If you can't keep your cat, he deserves a chance at a happy life with another family.

Instead of surrendering him to animal control, consider finding him a new home yourself. The Rehome website can help you do this. You'll find lots of expert advice and tools that simplify the process of finding your cat a loving new home.    

Stray Cats 

A stray cat is one that lived with humans at one point, but is now either lost or abandoned. You can tell if a cat is a stray because he will allow you to approach him, may meow or purr, and might beg for food. Depending on where you live, it is required that stray cats are reported to animal control. Even if it is not a requirement, it may still be a good idea to let them know, as many pet owners who lost their cat turn to animal control first.

If you are willing, let animal control know that you are able to care for the cat should no owner come forward. That way, you can ensure the cat winds up in a safe situation.

Feral Cats

Feral cats are cats that were born outside and are not socialized. This means they will usually not make good house pets. Some people find feral cats to be a nuisance and call animal control about them. If they are picked up, they are almost always put down immediately as they are not considered adoptable.  

As a humane alternative, consider these options instead:

  • Get in touch with a local TNR group (trap, neuter, release) to see about having the cats fixed. This prevents the population from growing while allowing them to live out their lives.
  • Research humane methods of deterring cats from coming on to your property. Ask the TNR group about this too, as they will likely have lots of advice. 

While animal control may pick up cats depending on your situation and location, it may not be the safest solution for the animals. Whether you need help rehoming a pet or assistance with feral cats, help is out there in a way that is safe for the cats.  

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